Mega Lessons From Ted Turner

Thu, Feb 11, 2010

Personal Development

“When I suffer a setback, I don’t think of myself as losing, I’m simply learning how to win.” Ted Turner

There are books that I call “just one more chapter” books. That means that when you crack the spine (begin to read), you can’t put ‘em down. Suddenly hours have slipped by and you’re finishing it, having promised yourself, “I’ll just read ONE more chapter …” Call Me Ted is my latest read on that “just one more chapter” list. Here are a few snippets from his powerful autobiography .

Ted Turner has reached many goals in his 70-some years. He’s been an owner of the Atlanta Braves, the brain child for Cable TV and a 24-hour news station, Yachtsman of the Year in 1970, winner of the America’s Cup in 1977, currently the largest individual landowner in the US (with over 2 million acres), Times Man of the Year in 1991, and a 1-billion dollar donor to a United Nations Foundation in 1997. And those are just his MAJOR accomplishments.

He’s had a colorful life to say the least, but in his own words, “I’m convinced that one of the reasons I’ve been successful is that I’ve almost always competed against people who were bigger and stronger but who had less commitment and desire than I did.” That is one of the thoughts I’ve carried with me this week—commitment and desire, or passion. That combination pushes you outside of your comfort zone to create and MAKE things happen.

Ted has Eleven Voluntary Initiatives that he always carries in his pocket and shares with others whenever possible. They are too important to just summarize:

1.   I promise to care for Planet Earth and all living things thereon, especially my fellow human beings.
2.   I promise to treat all persons everywhere with dignity, respect and friendliness.
3.   I promise to have no more than one or two children.
4.   I promise to use my best efforts to help save what is left of our natural world …
5.   I promise to use as little of our nonrenewable resources as possible.
6.   I promise to minimize my use of toxic chemicals, pesticides, and other poisons …
7.   I promise to contribute to those less fortunate …
8.   I reject the use of force, in particular military force …
9.   I support the total elimination of all nuclear, chemical and biological weapons …
10. I support the United Nations …
11. I support renewable energy and feel we should move rapidly to contain greenhouse gases.

Somehow I’ve looked at the world through different glasses after committing his Initiatives to memory. It has made me realize that as a party of ONE I can make a difference in my own environment! If this giant of an entrepreneur can walk the streets of Atlanta or New York City and pick up pieces of trash, so can I.

Some additional promises I’ve made by reading this book are to recycle in earnest, rid my environment of toxic chemicals AND to contribute more to those around me who are in need.

But the MAJOR take-away I received from Call Me Ted was one of his behaviors that I now think about many times a day. In his own words, “My desire to use time wisely has even extended to what I wear on my feet. For most of my adult life, I’ve never worn lace-up shoes. Most of my shoes are slip-ons, so instead of spending time stooping over tying my shoes, I do something else that’s productive.”

Talk about the minutest of details—that’s it! Every time I’ve wasted a few seconds this week I’ve been reminded that if someone who really has changed the world we live in values even the seconds of time it takes to tie his shoes. I should be placing premium value on every minute, too!

What’s your commitment to making a difference in our world? What time-saving strategies have you employed to treasure each day more? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below.

Carpe Diem!


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21 Responses to “Mega Lessons From Ted Turner”

  1. Jaclyn Castro Says:

    This is a neat topic of discussion Darlene.

    Same here, I too, pick up pieces of trash if I’m able to.

    There’s soo much we can contribute to our world if we just take the time…and CARE more.

    My commitment to the world is to use leave less of a carbon footprint and to help others create the time freedom that I have, for themselves.

    Thanks for sharing this Darlene.

    Smiles from Guam,
    Jaclyn Castro
    P.S. The take away you got from Ted about slip ons vs lace up to be more productive…details really truly matter in life, huh? ;-)
    .-= Jaclyn Castro´s last blog ..A Lesson From Geese on Teamwork =-.


    • Darlene Says:

      Isn’t it amazing that details make all the difference in EVERY aspect of our lives:)


      • Oren Pardes Says:

        Details (and distinctions) often make a BIG difference. This also applies to Ted Turner’s 11 “voluntary initiatives”; while they “initially” seem well-intended and appealing, most of his promises are very general, somewhat vague, and possibly even “misinformed”, “misdirected”, “mistaken”, or “misleading”. The only actually “measurable” promise is the number of children (desired).

        While many conscious, caring, concerned people have only a few children, the vast majority of others around the world have many more – which will mean that each new generation will have a proportionally greater imbalance of many kinds between those who live on planet – which may be a reason that people “in power” like Ted Turner and the United Nations (he supports) actively advocate, endorse, and attempt to enforce (immediate) “population reduction”.

        Although each of Ted’s 11 general promises CAN be interpreted positively, the actual details of each matters more than they may “initially” appear (which in this case, they don’t appear at all). Interpreted details must be evaluated on their own merit as well as by how well the walk matches the talk. Many seemingly positive proposals and policies are often economically motivated rather than really “environmentally” beneficial or “sustainable”. For example, Al Gore promotes compact florescent light bulbs instead of far superior LEDs and emphasizes (taxable) carbon dioxide with NO mention of methane as a far more impactful greenhouse gas (or how factory farming cows contribute to it).

        Ted Turner, Bil Gates, and many others with the “resources” they so much want to preserve may be doing a lot to make the world a better place – but I suspect that MANY of the details of their actual plans would NOT liked if known.

        Since what EACH of us does may matter and make differences that we are not even be aware of, before (optimistically) interpreting, (unconditionally) endorsing, (actively) adopting, advocating) imitating, or even assuming the best about Ted’s “initiatives”, I’d like a little more education, exploration, and introspection before “initiating” action.


  2. Sally Bath Says:

    Hi Darlene,
    I am passionate about caring for the environment and makes me upset when I see others who have no consideration. Ted’s Voluntary Initiatives are great to keep in mind.
    Thanks for sharing.
    .-= Sally Bath´s last blog ..The Power Of Positive Thinking =-.


  3. Toni Says:

    Excellent, I’m all for anything that can cause reflection & awareness in the direction of helping our planet. I conserve power wherever possible in my home. I also have 4 skylights, however in my next place I plan on having many more because I think they’re brilliant. Top post Darlene :)
    Cheers Toni


  4. Krista Abbott Says:

    Hey Darlene. Great post. I have been wanting to read this book. Now, I KNOW I will read it. I agree taking care of our planet and doing our part makes a huge difference. If everyone does his or her part then we can all impact our planet.
    .-= Krista Abbott´s last blog ..Managing Your Twitter Following =-.


  5. Chris Hughes Says:

    This is a great idea Darlene! I should start carrying around a piece of paper with the 5 laws of stratospheric success on them to re-enforce them into my mind at all times throughout the day!

    I definitely am going to need to pick up this book soon, have you thought about including an Amazon link in your posts so that people can buy directly from you, earning you a little commission?

    And I’m 100% with you on making the planet a better place than it was before I arrived, we’ve got to help future generations out!

    Keep it up,


  6. Kathy Jodrey Says:

    I never knew much about Ted Turner, except that he was an incredibly successful business man. As such, I never would have presumed that he was such a giving person, or an environmentalist. Wow, that just goes to show the danger of pre-conceived notions!

    Thanks for the info, Darlene….another book to add to my “to read” list!
    .-= Kathy Jodrey´s last blog ..How To Add Facebook Fan Page to Blog In Less than 5 Minutes =-.


  7. Edward Says:

    Hey Darlene,
    Excellent post. Thanks for sharing these great insights into Ted Tuner’s life with us. I have no idea about him. Very inspiring and encouraging of what we all can become. It truly is all about the moments in life that matter the most.
    Make it a great day!
    God Bless,


  8. Jomo Says:

    GREAT Post Darlene!! :-)

    I too, like Kathy and Edward, never knew much about Ted Turner, so thank you so much for enlightening me on how much of a brilliant man he was/is!!

    I’m reading Gary V’s book “Crush It” right now, and much of Ted’s philosophies about his competition remind me of Gary’s.

    I also LOVE your major takeaway from the book, as that is HUGE…the more ways we can find to leverage our time and start doing the things that really matter to us with the time that we have in this life, the better off we’ll be!!

    Thanks again for the great post!! Keep up the great work Darlene!!

    - Jomo


  9. Jeffrey Says:

    OK Darlene, pretty cool subject, you get the kudos for best blog post of the day. Caught it on a Re-Tweet.
    .-= Jeffrey´s last blog ..Please Donate To My Blog =-.


  10. Chip Wilson Says:

    Darlene – Ted and I have had our philosophical differences, but I respect what he has accomplished. One thing that we absolutely agree on though is the value of leverage, time and otherwise.

    I also value his philosophy on desire and a commitment to excellence.

    Thanks for sharing your insights from his boook.

    .-= Chip Wilson´s last blog ..Why Your Personal Economy Is Critical To Your Freedom =-.


  11. Kellie Says:

    Darlene, as a bonafide shoe addict, I honestly never thought about the minutes I was saving by loving shoes I just slide into. LOL I love the list, I have one thing I try to do consistently each day and that is one random act of kindness. Even if it is to stand a little longer just to hold the door for a woman with a baby or an elderly couple, those little details help make the day a little easier for someone else. Thanks for your insight and I’ll love my slip on shoes just a little more now. :-)


    • Darlene Says:

      Thanks, Kellie. I call it making a difference one person at a time! Any thoughts on flats? Could use your assistance with that!


  12. Linda G Cox Says:

    I’ve never heard of Ted Turner~ I’m so glad you read and shared! What an awesome example of healthy, emotionally healthy living! I agree with everything he believes in!! That has been the hardest part of my MS speed bump~ slowing down. I have organized my life so that every walk across the house has purpose. I understand the importance of every minute. Thank you Darlene for sharing!
    .-= Linda G Cox´s last blog ..List Building: The Key to Internet Marketing Success =-.


  13. Merrill Says:

    Funny how things work out. I bought this book simply because I’m an Atlanta Braves fan. And instead of the expected entertaining read, I ended up learning a lot about life, business and focus.

    Great read for anyone looking to be the best they can be.

    - M


  14. Michelle Says:

    Gosh that puts things in perspective… he worries about wasting a few minutes tying his shoelaces and here I am spending whole afternoons surfing the net! Oh.. maybe that’s why he’s successful and I’m still in the same place. :-/


  15. Eva Says:

    I love his 11 Voluntary Initiatives! Wow, do they make you think… how often do I live by even one of those? I think I may print them out myself. If more of us lived this way could you imagine what a wonderful world this would be!?


  16. zoltan Says:

    This is a most inspiring post. I find it remarkable that the largest landowner in the US states as one of his beliefs “I promise to use my best efforts to help save what is left of our natural world … “. Maybe there is some hope left in this world after all. I look forward to reading his book and am sure that, like you Darlene, I will not be putting it down until I have finished.
    zoltan´s last [type] ..The Mental Benefits of Physical Exercise


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